The New York Jets have three ways to go with the 23rd pick. Which one will general manager Joe Douglas choose on NFL draft night?
The New York Jets are in quite a unique spot with the 23rd pick in the 2021 NFL draft. The team is desperate for elite talent and depth. Basically, the team is desperate for quality football players.
Thanks to that, there is a lot of speculation regarding the road Joe Douglas will take at No. 23.
The media and streets are divided. Some say the Jets should trade up and acquire a blue-chip player to pair with quarterback Zach Wilson—the probable selection at number two. Others say the Jets should instead trade down, accumulate picks and build the backbone of the roster. Those remaining argue the Jets are better off to remain at 23.
Every option has its downside and upside, and I believe everything is way too abstract as of now. Thinking in abstract terms generally takes us away from the real trade-off that is draft night. Every move costs something—even staying put at your own spot.
Below, I present what I believe would be the cost of the decisions the Jets may take with their second first-rounder: trading up, trading down or staying put.
Do Jets fans want to accumulate more picks? Do Jets fans realize the cost of moving up? Do Jets fans realize the cost of staying put while there is a good offer to trade down?
Anything can happen on draft night (just ask Kevin Costner), and I’m pretty sure Douglas knows that the best thing he can do is keeping all options available.
Option 1: Trading up from the 23rd pick
- Trade offer: 23rd, 34th, 86th and Panthers 2022 fourth-rounder for Denver Broncos’ ninth-overall pick.
- Upside: Acquiring a blue-chip, potential All-Pro player.
- Downside: Loss of draft capital.
- Possible selections: Penei Sewell (OL, Oregon), Rashawn Slater (OT/OG, Northwestern), Alijah-Vera Tucker (OT/OG, USC), Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida), Devonta Smith (WR, Alabama), Jaylen Waddle (WR, Alabama), Patrick Surtain III (CB, Alabama), Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina).
Sitting at No. 9 and disappointed with the development (or lack thereof) of Drew Lock, the Denver Broncos are one of the teams that are looking for one of the top-five quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL draft.
Three weeks from now, I believe we could see all these five guys (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance) gone before the ninth pick. At the very least, four should be gone by that point in the draft.
Denver, then, could be willing to move down and accumulate picks in order to either build around Lock or to get ammo for a possible 2022 trade-up.
If all top-five quarterbacks get selected before the ninth pick, the Jets would be certainly adding one of the following: Sewell, Slater, Pitts, Smith, or Vera-Tucker. All five players possess All-Pro potential and would be exciting “welcome home” gifts to whoever the Jets select at No. 2 to play quarterback.
Obviously, this would come at a high cost.
The Jets have many holes: big needs at both guard spots, linebacker, cornerback and tight end. This trade would strip the team of some of the draft capital Douglas helped build with the trades of Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams and, most recently, Darnold, and maybe some glaring needs would not be addressed later in this draft.
Option 2: Trading down from the 23rd pick
- Trade offer: 23rd pick for the Ravens’ 27th and 58th picks.
- Upside: Acquiring another second-round pick while still having a pick in the back of the first round.
- Downside: Possibly missing out on a top-five offensive lineman or wide receiver. Missing out on the top-three cornerbacks and edge rushers.
- Possible selections with the 27th pick: Jaylen Mayfield (OT, Michigan), Alex Leatherwood (OT/OG, Alabama), Dillon Radunz (OT, North Dakota State), Creed Humpfrey (C/G, Oklahoma) Greg Newsome (CB, Northwestern), Asante Samuel Jr. (CB, Florida State), Kadarius Toney (WR, Florida), Terrace Marshall Jr. (WR, LSU), Jaelan Phillips (EDGE, Miami), Jayson Oweh (EDGE, Penn State).
The Baltimore Ravens are desperate to add a big-time weapon for former MVP Lamar Jackson. If they decide they need to move up to get Rashod Bateman, the stud route-runner out of Minnesota who cour become Lamar’s go-to guy, No. 23 might be the spot to land.
Douglas answers the phone from his former employer and accepts the offer, trading first-rounders with the Ravens, while also snagging a late-second rounder.
This move would be of good value, allowing the Jets to still pick a player later in the first round, probably on a similar tier of talent, It also adds another second-round selection to the Jets’ arsenal, meaning the team would have six picks in the first three rounds. You cannot ask for a better rebuilding formula.
This move, on the other hand, could possibly mean missing out on all of the top-five OT/OG available in the draft.
Bringing in a rookie quarterback, Douglas cannot afford to swing and miss early with the offensive line position. If his guy is there at 23, he should absolutely stay put.
Option 3: Staying put at 23
- Trading-up upside: All draft picks stay intact.
- Trading-down downside: There’s always an unexpected big slide on draft night, and the 23rd pick is a prime spot to take advantage of it (i.e. Justin Jefferson in the 2020 NFL draft).
- Trading-down downside: If there is no slide, the talent difference between the 23rd and 27th won’t be too big.
- Trading-up downside: Not getting a blue-chip player for your rookie quarterback when you have the draft capital to do so.
- Possible selections with the 23rd pick: Teven Jenkins (OT, Oklahoma State), Christian Darrisaw (OT, Virginia Tech), Caleb Farley (CB, Virginia Tech) Greg Newsome (CB, Northwestern), Rashod Bateman (WR, Florida), Kadarius Toney (WR, Florida), Azeez Ojulari (EDGE, Georgia)
Staying put at 23 gives the Jets a variety of options on their draft board.
It is a spot that allows the team to address any position of need they would like with true first-round talent.
Douglas is a value guy. He will not see the 23rd pick in a vacuum and instead focus on value. Staying put could be the most valuable move for the Jets on April 29.
The Jets’ immense draft capital gives the team something Douglas clearly values: flexibility. The Jets can stay put, move up or down at their own will, deciding which price they are willing to pay on the huge trade-off named draft night.
If It is by moving up to add unquestionable talent, moving down to get even more draft capital, or staying put and going best player available, I am sure Joe Douglas will trust reasoning over impulse while moving forward with the best decision for not only the 2021 New York Jets, but also for the organization many years down the road.
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